I left my street clothes on but my shirt was removed and replaced by a gown. I lay on a cot and the headrest is kind of U-shaped to cradle the head to keep it from rolling side to side.
I had a cough and the anesthesiologist said all I had to do was say "STOP" and the team would stop in case I had to cough or sneeze. That did not happen.
While I really, really tense up when anything gets near my eyes that is just part of the pre-op and post-op process so I needed to just deal with it. While on the cot the nurses applied drops to dilate the eye, drops to numb the eye, a few other drops, and then applied some reddish drops. I asked "Wait, did you just pour Betadine on my eye???!!!" and they replied yes, an ophthalmic betadine. Two times. Then they gently scrubbed the area around the eye and poured water on the eye to wash the excess off.
Yes, I had a death grip on the cot railings but it was nowhere near as bad as I feared.
They had me close both my eyes to spread the drops and keep them closed until I was in the OR. Once in the OR they had me open both eyes and confirm which eye was being done. I raised my left hand and said "This one and with a nearsighted lens." which the surgeon confirmed. They marked the area above that eye with an indelible pen. I still have a kind of a tattoo there.
I was told to close my eyes and I could feel and hear a plastic drape being placed on my face. I said "Hey, you didn't tell me I was getting waterboarded." Yeah, I think they've heard that joke before...
I was told to "Look at the light with both eyes and do not go into the light" so obviously they'd heard that
joke about 10,000 times.
I was given Versed IV as a calming agent and all I saw was a moving light above my eye. It actually appeared as four lights kind of bobbing around. During the surgery I was told once to look into the light so I had let my gaze drift.
I neither felt nor saw anything except those four bobbing lights. I remember no conversation except for when I was told to look into the light again.
Then I must have been given more Versed or it took more effect and I woke up in Recovery. The whole process was about 10 minutes and the actual surgery was about six minutes. The incision in the side of the eye where the old lens was removed and the new lens was inserted is supposed to be about 2 mm or 1/10th of an inch (phacoemulsification).
I had an oval plastic patch taped over the left eye but I was out when it was applied. The patch has several holes to let light through but it's really a clear plastic patch to block water and dust.
My total time in the surgery center was about 2.5 hours from arrival to departure. I was given a set of sunglasses to wear until the light sensitivity decreased and also to block flying stuff. Those glasses have a top, bottom and sides so they're almost like safety glasses.
My left eye was REALLY bright and that extra perceived brightness did not start to wear off until today. My eyes were no longer dilated as of yesterday so it really is just extra light hitting the retina from the cataract removal.
At the one-day checkup yesterday everything looked great and I was told to start the eye drops. Two drops five minutes apart four times a day. I asked if I needed to wake up at 4 AM and was told "Absolutely not. One set upon waking up, one at lunch, one at dinner, and one before bed is all that's needed."
Now, I really, really have a hard time with anything near my eye like drops. They showed me how to pull the skin a bit and place the drops. By the second day taking the drops is a total non-event. Whew.
Two drops four times a day for two weeks, two drops three times a day for one week, and two drops once a day for one week and I'm done with drops.
I only wear the eye patch while sleeping to keep from accidentally trying to rub the eye, which I did try to do upon wakening the first morning after. I need to wear the eye patch for ten nights. It's no big deal.
I have had no redness, no pain, no itchiness, no scratchy feeling, no draining, nothing. I look at the eye closely when applying drops to assure no redness is developing, which could indicate an infection.
Let's talk about showering. Showering is OK on the day after surgery. You need to keep water and soapy water out of the eye and I was advised to apply the eye patch with the tape, take a shower with my head faced down and that eye GENTLY closed (not firmly closed), and then use the scheduled drops afterwards. Even with the tape around the top and sides of the patch it got damp inside the patch. Not wet but damp on the foam edges.
One cataract surgery site recommended these things for showering and they arrived today so I'll be trying one tonight. It looks like a good solution: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07TNQD25H?th=1
No lifting over 20 pounds for two weeks so no laundry and no carrying the vacuum up or down stairs. No repetitive bending for two weeks so my wife gets to pick up all dog "droppings" for a while. No lawn work. It's kind of like a medically-enforced vacation so far except I did clean the toilets today.
I had no narcotics at all but it took a day for all effects of the Versed to wear off. My vision was much
clearer when I woke up the day after surgery.
And yes, I am really looking forward to getting the other eye done now instead of dreading it. Seriously.